CITY OF VERGENNES
PUBLIC HEARING AND REGULAR MEETING
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2018
Members Present: Shannon Haggett-Chair, Mike Winslow-Vice Chair, Tim Cook, Cheryl Brinkman
Members Absent: John Coburn
Also Present: Mel Hawley, Zoning Administrator, Mayor Michael Daniels, Scott Hardy, Danelle Birong, Jason Farrell
Shannon called the public hearing to order at 7:05 p.m. He asked if there were any proposed amendments to the agenda. No amendments were requested. He then read the notice of public hearing and opened the floor for testimony relative to the proposed amendments to zoning and subdivision regulations.
Mel testified he noticed that Section 1202.1 does not contain off-street parking requirements specific to one-family dwelling units with an accessory dwelling unit. He said this was probably an oversight rather than an intentional omission, but it should be addressed to allow clarity to the process for the Zoning Administrator and the Development Review Board. Mel recommended that an additional parking space be required for an accessory dwelling unit.
Scott Hardy testified he is a proponent of the state’s Neighborhood Development Area program. He supports any program that can simplify the permitting process for new development. He added the governor is calling for additional affordable housing across the state and he feels the program can help achieve that goal. Scott requested the Planning Commission consider reducing the minimum lot size in the High Density Residential District to allow the City to apply for and receive the Neighborhood Development Area Designation for the High Density Residential District.
No other testimony was provided. Shannon announced the Planning Commission was holding a regular meeting immediately following the public hearing where the received testimony would be discussed. He added the meeting was open to the public and encouraged everyone present to attend. He then closed the public hearing at 7:20 p.m.
Shannon called the regular meeting to order at 7:20 p.m., immediately after the public hearing was closed.
The minutes to the meeting of January 29, 2018 were reviewed. Cheryl moved to approve the minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Mike with all voting in favor.
The Planning Commission discussed the testimony at the public hearing that just concluded. Section 1202.1 was discussed. Mel noted that even if the Planning Commission didn’t want to change any parking requirements for one-family dwellings with an accessory dwelling unit, the use should be addressed. Everyone agreed to propose new wording to require three (3) parking spaces for a one-family dwelling with an accessory dwelling unit.
The Planning Commission discussed minimum lot size in the High Density Residential District. Cheryl noted she had been absent during the December, 2017 meeting when everyone agreed to not reduce the minimum lot size. Mel added once everyone started to calculate the number of dwelling units in a planned unit development in the district with existing density bonuses for elderly housing or energy efficiency, some members were concerned the change would have a negative impact to the City. Mike said the next update of the municipal plan was going to be underway soon and it would be good to get community input on the vision of the High Density Residential District. Shannon stated he thought it was odd that the minimum lot size is the same for one-family dwelling in both the High Density and Medium Density Residential Districts but understood the need for more public input before making a change. He added the City’s application for the Neighborhood Development Area designation was hampered by more than just the density requirements and either the program requirements would need to change or large parts of the City’s zoning regulations would need to change for a successful application. Mike responded it would be unwise to alter the zoning regulations just for the designation.
Tim moved to submit the proposed amendments to the zoning and subdivision regulations to the City Council as presented with the inclusion of new wording addressing off-street parking requirements for a one-family dwelling with an accessory dwelling unit in Section 1202.1. The motion was seconded by Mike Winslow with all voting in favor.
The Planning Commission continued the discussion of writing a policy guiding the use of sandwich board and temporary signs in the public right of way. Mel noted the draft policy did not include any distance requirements between a sandwich board sign and the associated business. After lengthy discussion the group agreed the sign should be within fifty (50) feet of the business. Cheryl questioned the words “so-called” in reference to the Stevens House. Mel responded it was a phrase he often used but it could be omitted from the document. Everyone agreed. Mel suggested the name of the policy be changed to “Sandwich Board and Temporary Sign Policy”. Everyone agreed. Mike and Mel suggested the clauses pertaining to enforcement and sign removal be simplified to read “The City has the right to remove signs which do not conform to these policies, without notice to the owner.” With no other proposed changes, everyone agreed to forward the draft policy to the City Council for their review.
Next the Planning Commission heard items of interest updates:
- Transportation items update – No update.
- Stormwater items update – No update.
- Materials Management items update – No update.
- Energy Planning items update – Cheryl reported the Energy Committee of the Addison County Regional Planning Commission was next meeting on February 6th to continue work on the Energy Section of the regional plan.
No new business was presented
The meeting adjourned at 8:55 p.m.
Mel Hawley, Clerk